Changing Consumer and Business Trends in Men’s Grooming in India

The male grooming industry is riding an interesting trend which has been sustaining itself for a while in urban India. The trend is of men sporting beard and thick facial hair. This has been interesting period for the male grooming industry, as it was tackling this change in consumer trends, impact of demonetisation and the changing competitive landscape.

The male grooming industry which comprises of product categories such as shaving creams, razors and blades, bath and shower products, deodorants, hair care, skin care and fragrances is one of the fastest growing categories within the beauty and personal care market. Almost all these men specific product categories registered retail value growth of 15-16% during 2016. However, the largest category within men’s grooming namely men’s razors and blades managed to register single digit retail value growth of 6% in 2016.

Over the past two years, men’s razors and blades growth rates have dropped to single digit value growth from earlier strong double digit growth. Men’s razors and blades which registered retail value growth of around 18% in 2012 managed to register growth in the range of 6% during 2015 and 2016. Though, the primary reason for this slowdown can be attributed to slowdown in growth of market leader Gillette India Ltd during 2015 and 2016. Changing consumer trends over the past two years especially in urban markets such as rising popularity of growing beard and increasing adoption of electric shavers has impacted the growth.

Additionally, the recent demonetisation measure lead to a cash crunch in the economy for the last two months of 2016. During this period men’s razors and blades sales were reported to have taken a hit as consumers bought only as much as they immediately required or visited a local salon which had card transaction or digital payment (Paytm) facility. The Indian men’s razors and blades market is dominated by traditional blades which are used by the masses across both urban and rural centres. These traditional blades accounted for 37% of all razors and blades sales in India during 2016. Growth in 2016 was impacted as masses held on to their spend during demonetisation.

In the meanwhile, some of new entrants in men’s razors and blades market include – Beardo, Ustraa, Bombay Shaving Company, The Man Company and Lets Shave among others. Most of these new entrants are focused on the online retail channel to achieve sales. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are the prominent media platforms for these players to reach out to consumers and create brand awareness. These players in particular, are tapping into the rising trend of male grooming among urban consumers and are coming out with a wide range of grooming products including pre-shave scrubs, post-shave balms, beard oil to give a shine, beard hair growth oils, face washes, fragrances, moustache wax and tailor-made blades for different skin and hair types among others.

Despite these new entrants and changing trends leading players like Gillette India Ltd, Malhotra Shaving Products Pvt Ltd and Vidyut Metallics Ltd have managed to hold on to their market share during 2016. Whereas “Others” accounted for close to 31% of all men’s razors and blades sales in India and would face increasing challenge from the newer entrants.